Making a Living in the Midst of a Pandemic

If you were laid off by your employer today, what would you do?  Would you find another job?  Do you have enough money in savings to survive for a while?  What would you do next?  

In years past, this would have been a much easier question to answer.  Now, with the pandemic affecting literally every part of our lives, the question is a lot harder to answer.  From the mandates that closed so many of our businesses to those that are still regulating what businesses can operate and how they may do so, finding a job just keeps getting harder and harder.  And if that's not bad enough, it seems like every single day we hear about yet another industry that is laying off thousands of people.  

Will those jobs come back?  Studies are predicting that up to 40% might never come back, so if you are one of those that's laid off, you'd better plan your way forward rather than wait a few months and hope that the economy will bounce right back, because chances are, it may not.  

With that in mind, let's look at the different ways to move forward.  If you've got savings or you received a decent severance package, you can live off that for a bit, but at some point, you'll most likely need to look for another job if that's your plan.  And for many of us, that will work, however, expect the competition for those jobs to be fierce as there will be more candidates competing for each position.  You may also find that salaries and benefits offered will be significantly lower, both due to the availability of applicants, and to the effect the pandemic has had on the businesses themselves.  Budgets will be tighter for years to come to make up for losses incurred over the duration of business shut downs, slow downs, increased regulating, etc., and if budgets are down, salaries will also be down.  

Another option for many might be to start your own business rather than go back to work for someone else.  That way, assuming you're successful, you'll have some control over both your time and your economic future.  But, what type of business should you start? 

First and foremost, look at your experience.  What did you do in the workforce?  Is that something that you can do on your own?  If so, are you interested in continuing to do so?  If not, what are your hobbies, your interests, your passions?  Is that something that you can turn into a career?   Just remember, whatever you choose needs to be something that you're good at, something that you enjoy doing, and something that you can make money at.  If not, you're less likely to succeed, and at this point, success could mean the difference between going back to work or not.

Secondly, don't be afraid to start your business as a sideline.  If you're still working, spend your free time setting up your business, making product, bidding jobs, selling things… whatever it is that you choose to do.  There will be far less stress if you're able to start slow and still earn money while you're building your own business.  

And finally, keep at it!  Don't quit.  Too many people start something and they never finish.  Building a business takes time and effort, just like doing a job takes time and effort.  The difference is, if you're working for yourself, you call the shots.